- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rep. Nathan Deal said Thursday he’ll delay his resignation from the House at least through this month so he can vote against President Obama’s health care bill.

Mr. Deal, Georgia Republican, announced Monday he was resigning to focus on his gubernatorial bid, but said he’ll now put that on hold until March 31 — underscoring the stakes in the health care debate.

Without Mr. Deal, the House would have four vacancies in its 435 seats, meaning if every member voted, it would take just 216 votes to pass health care. By staying, Mr. Deal ups that threshold to 217.

“Just two days after I announced my intentions to leave Congress, the majority party stepped up the schedule for the proposed health care bill. Having been deeply involved in all health care legislation for the past decade, I knew it was important to stay and vote down this bill,” he said in a statement released by his campaign.

Mr. Deal is locked in a primary battle to be his party’s nominee for governor in November’s elections, and the chance to vote against Mr. Obama’s bill could be a boost in his campaign.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday he thinks the House is on course to vote on the Senate-passed health care bill and a set of corrections to it within two weeks.

The House passed a version of health care last year on a 220-215 vote, but some lawmakers who voted in favor of that bill have said they’re leaning against voting for a new bill.

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